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To partition, or not to partition...that is the question



I have yet to see a difinitive answer on whether or not it is an advantage to partition a seperate system and data partitions on a win2k/xp install or whether it is nobler to perform the installation into one big partition.

Back up any input with facts if possible and or quotes from Microsoft.

I have engineers that swear by seperate system and data partitions and others that insist it is not necessary.

Thanks for any input you can give...



i tried using partitions, but i'm not sure that the way system restore works is particularly suited to it in Xp. i found i had copies of all the system restore data on *both* partitions. this was a lot of wasted space. not sure if was *actually* on both, but thats the way explorer showed it.


My opinion you should defiantly partition. Reason being if your OS gets trashed and you have to reformat the OS partition you wont loose your data which is on a separate portion. I dont use system restore but rely on Norton Ghost which requires that images be saved to another portion or physical drive. Also it is faster to defrag a portion rather than a whole HDD. Storage partitions usually dont require defrag as often unless you are doing a lot of deleting of files. Also systems seems more organized and easier to maintain.


I agree with dadx2mj, it is much easier to maintain, and is more organised. Also when the system does go down, as long as you've got your important documents etc on a seperate partition, they wont get lost. Defragmentation is reduced and seek times too.

System Restore does have a percentage on each seperate drive, but again, this is good because your restore file is split per partition, the size is nominal, unless you have a tiny partition, but then again you can control the amount of space that system restore uses anyway, so thats a non-issue.

I have a seperate partition for temp files and have turned off system restore on the drive completely, no point if all im doing is storing data, which i wont be deleting.

All in all I think partitioning makes for a cleaner neater system. :)

I have 2 40Gb drives, 35gig for XP and program files, 2gig for temp, 2 gig for cache & internet files, 10gig for games, and the rest as storage. Annoyingly xp insists on having part of the drive for itself, which doesnt show up as normal space, but thats just part of XP.

Static 99

I also agree with dadx2mj
The only disadvantage of partitioning is a few nanoseconds performance loss.

Perris Calderon

Staff member
Political User
not so, everybody who's pro partitions.

I't's much more then nanoseconds when you are on ntfs, though some expeerts have a fetish for partitions, due to the old fat technology...there is no reason, (that anyone can show me), to use actual partions, versus virtual partitions, (good file system).

here's the huge differance, and no one can deny it, though in the past they've said the differance is unnoticeable.

when you want to transfer information, or copy information, this has to be written to an actual partition, and everyone knows about how slow hard writes are.

when you do this with a virtual partion, the transfer is instantaneous.

every expert that I've been in personal contact with who uses ntfs either uses multiple drives, or does not partition...

now, people will come in here and tell you otherwise, and claim some "housekeeping " benefit, but housecleaning is surely easier and faster with virtual partitions.

they will also claim some sort of benenfit when you reinstall, but as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't make sense to use some old registry settings on a reformat, and that defeats the purpose.


when you have partitons, you need seperate head room on each partiton for defragging, among othere things...a clear waste of resources.

partitions are definately, (in my humble opinion), MUCH slower, and very counter productive

now, there is greater data integrety with real partions, but I've never seen that being any issue at all

IF YOU ARE ON FAT, of course, you must partion, and there is a performance benefit to it on fat, otherwise, I don't see it, and compared to anyone that has partitons, performing everyday computing, I will definately be faster then they


when you do not partition, xp can lay certain files out in the best location for speed...they went so out of their way to design this feature into this os.

it can not be done accross volumes, so, it does not optimize these files when you partion.


Perris Calderon

Staff member
Political User
let me come back, and tell you that your box will definately be faster at some activities, as 2z will tell you, when you use fat, and a well organized partition system.

for me, I'd be slower, as I'm always transfering and copying files


Talking about partitions, should you decide to, then try making another little one three times the size of you ram and place there the system swap file alone leaving the windows partition free from the pagefile.
You'll notice your comp will run a little faster and a lot smoother. That's the best use you can do of both phisical and virtual memory on your system.

Besides... I'm for partitioning for all reasons you stated and more!

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Electronic Punk wrote on Perris Calderon's profile.
All good still mate?
Hello, is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me ...
What a long strange trip it's been. =)

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